Notes: These rules are for the U.S.' first-generation armored mechanical suit, the M55 Gorilla. These rules are inspired by the excellent APE miniatures produced by Grindhouse Games so be sure to swing by their site and get a few squads. Be sure to also pick up the Battleground WWII core rules so you can use these masters of the battlefield to their fullest.
Date Introduced: Early '45
Users: United States
Movement: A Gorilla suit can move up to 4” per action and will suffer from terrain modifiers as normal. If prone, the Gorilla will take 4 actions to rise. Gorilla suits are unable to crawl when prone and will take 2 actions to move out of a trench or other similar earthwork. The M55 is capable of wading through waist high water at ½ its normal movement. Because of the suit's limited maneuverability, the operator will suffer a +2 whist fighting in close combat against other more nimble adversaries such as normal infantry.
Headlight: The suit is fitted with a single headlight that uses the rules for vehicle headlights as normal.
Monocular Sight: The M55’s headgear is fitted with a single monocular site that allows for some enhanced sighting for the operator. This monocular sight gives the operator a –2 modifier to their dice roll (not column shift) when making Sighting Checks. The sight also allows for a –1 To Hit with all ranged weapons that might be fitted to the suit except for the M551 grenade launcher.
Armored Plate: The suit’s armor plate offers the operator a +7 to all damage taken. Due to the weight of the armor plate, the Gorilla will never be forced prone unless it is within an 75mm or larger blast or struck by a round larger than 50mm. If the Gorilla is forced prone then it may not perform any other actions other then to move to a standing position as described above. Any fire to the Gorilla’s front that rolls a natural 1 will ignore the +7 modifier and will be as if it struck the operator’s unarmored head. If any fire to the Gorilla’s rear causes a Gory Death result, it will be as if the incoming fire has penetrated and ignited the suit's fuel tank causing it to explode using the Small HE template. A result of a KIA to the suit's rear will cause it to become immobilized and the suit will begin to smoke.
Enhanced Strength: The M55 suit gives the operator increased strength that allows them to pick up to 1000lbs with a successful Skill Check. The suit also allows its operator to throw up to triple the normal range. The Gorilla is able to smash through any non-reinforced structures with a successful Skill Check and will create a suit-sized hole when doing so. The suit is also capable of kicking an armored target with an AP of 2 with a +8 modifier to the penetration result.
M550 "Stubby" MG: The M550 is a totally new weapon designed exclusively for the Gorilla suit. The weapon is an air-cooled machine gun that fires the standard .30cal round up to 400 rounds a minute. The weapon can be fitted with either a 500rd or 1000rd ammo drum and is fitted to the suits right arm. This is the general issue weapon to all Gorilla suits. This weapon acts similar to that of a vehicle mounted MG so treat it as such when using Special Actions. The M550 uses an ammo drum and cannot be reloaded by the suit’s operator whilst on the battlefield and will need to either retire from combat to reload or have another certified individual reload it for them. If any M55 suit armed with the Stubby rolls a total of 5 Jams in one battle then that weapon is considered to be out of ammo for the remainder of the battle. The Stubby has the range of a rifle, ROF of 4, causes a C column hit and will Jam on a 19+.
M551 "Sling Shot" Grenade Launcher: The M551 is a single-shot, re-loadable auxiliary grenade launcher that is designed to fit on the M550 MG. The weapon can fire fragmentation, HEAT, smoke, WP grenades and flare rounds. This weapon is not general issue and is usually only found on a Gorilla that is being operated by a squad leader or combat engineer. The grenade launcher acts just like a rifle grenade or flare pistol when firing it and it takes the operator a single action to reload the grenade launcher after it has fired. Note that only Gorilla suits that do not mount a mechanical appendage can perform this feat. The grenades use the rules for rifle grenades as normal. The HEAT grenade has an AP of 20. The flares are fired using the normal flare pistol rules.
M554 "Zippo" Flamethrower: The M554 was designed specifically for the USMC who use flamethrowers more frequently in the Pacific Theater then their Army counterparts in the ETO and MTO. This weapon is very popular with the USMC's Gorilla units and has been issued in smaller numbers to Army units in the ETO. Availability to Gorilla units outside of the PTO is a 10 or less. The Zippo will act like any normal infantry-based flamethrower with the exception that the fuel will only detonate on a roll of a Gory Death result.
M1917B2 MG: It was realized early that Gorilla units would be high priority targets on the battlefield and they would need to be supported by support weapons that could move along with the unit, thus the M1917B2 was adopted to fill this role. The M1917B2 is a modified Browning M1917 water-cooled MG that is fitted to the M55 frame. This weapon has provided Gorilla units with a weapon system capable of adequate suppressive fire without having to work in conjunction with non-Gorilla infantry units. The Gorilla suit is capable of carrying up to 2000 rounds in an armored magazine fitted to the back of the suit. Unfortunately, with the added weight of the ammo and weapon, it has slowed the suit down to 3" per action. Due to the limited ammunition carried by the M55 and its high rate of fire, the weapon will Jam on a roll of 18. If the operator rolls 5 or more Jams in one battle then the weapon is assume to have fired all of its stored ammunition and will be useless for the remainder of the battle. The weapon uses the MMG range with a ROF of 4 causing a C column hit. If the operator uses 2 actions to Dig In then it can benefit from normal Special Actions as if a crew-served MG with an increased Jam score of 17, otherwise it will act as a vehicle mounted MG when firing.
M552 "Can Opener" Mechanical Shears: The M552 allows the user to easily cut through heavy vegetation or enemy infantry and smash its way through unfortified structures with ease. A unique feature of this weapon is that it is capable of shearing off pieces of a target or actual cut open structures or vehicles like a giant can opener. The M552 is capable of cutting or smashing its way through heavy vegetation with a successful Skill Check and will produce a suit sized hole when done. It is also capable of shearing off pieces of enemy weapons and vehicles with its hydraulic blades. When attempting to shear off something, a successful Skill Check is needed then it may shear off something that is up to a 1” thick in actual scale. This could be the barrel of a gun, piece of track or even a motorcycle just as long as the location is not thicker then 1”. The shears can also attempt to cut open its target like a can opener. The tip of the shears has an AP of 2 and if it successfully penetrates the target then it will be able to cut 1” of actual scale for every action the operator so wishes. This could be to cut open a metal gate, armor plate, the wings of an aircraft or even into the hull of a ship. The Gorilla must also be in base-to-base contact with the intended target to perform these attacks. The shears can also be used whilst in close combat against other infantry or AMSs and will offer the M55 a –1 to their final score.
M553 "Crusher" Mechanical Gauntlet: The M553 is a massive hydraulic gauntlet that allows the operator to crush or punch through its target with devastating results. This weapon has been found to be a very popular addition to any Gorilla suit and is especially appreciated when the user is expecting to engage in close combat with enemy troops. When using the M553 in close combat it will receive a –2 to their final score. If the Gorilla wins in close combat the operator may choose to either crush their enemy with its massive grip or deliver a lethal punch. If a punch is dealt, then the target will be flung D6” directly away from the Gorilla and land prone with a KIA result. If the victim hits another trooper then they will smash against them causing a G strength hit and forcing them prone. If it was a crushing attack, then the opponent is crushed and then thrown to the ground in a pool of blood and gore. Treat this kill as a Gory Death for the remainder of the battle. The gauntlet is also capable of punching through armored plate and has an AP of 4 with a +5 to the penetration result when performing such an attack. The gauntlet can also pry open things with its massive fingers like pealing an orange. To perform such an attack, the Gorilla must first penetrate the target with its fingertips and then grasped the target before it begins to tear away. The gauntlet has an AP of 2 when doing this and if it is successful it will be able to tear up to a 1” of actual scale into the target per action in doing so. The M55 must be in base-to-base contact with the target to be able to perform the above attacks.Holding Other Equipment and Weapons: The M55 operator is able to hold anything they wish if they are not fitted with a mechanical appendage. This can include anything from grenades, weapons or K-Rations. If the operator is fitted with an appendage then it cannot hold anything that is general issue to unarmored infantry. The Gorilla suit has been provided with some special grenades that are designed to be used buy either an unarmored hand or one of the Gorilla’s mechanical appendages. These special grenades are thrown as normal but will triple all grenade ranges. The grenade types provided to the Gorilla are the same that are issued to any U.S. GI so the Gorillas can have any grenade type that any unarmored grunt might have such as frag, WP or smoke. Some Gorilla suited troops have been known to use .50cal machine guns or even bazookas in a pinch when dedicated Gorilla-designed weapons are damaged or out of ammo. The only limitation for handling non-Gorilla issued weapons or equipment is that its total weight cannot exceed 1000lbs and can be fired or manipulated by human hands in its normal capacity.
Wargaming Piece: Head up top and check out the NOTES section to get the 411 on these American ass kickers.